Suzanne Williams, RN, LICSW

Vietnam Veteran/ Retreat Facilitator

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© 2019 Warriors Heart to Art

Images by Hamilton Studio

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A Retreat for Veterans with PTSD

Offering a 5-Day healing retreat

  • In a quiet, peaceful, and safe rural atmosphere just outside of Spokane

  • Get to know, listen to, and support each other

  • Create, share, and process personal stories

  • Includes education about trauma and brain function

  • Use expressive ways of paintings, poems, and songs to share your story

  • Not a religious or political program

  • Sponsored by donors

Seeking 20 Spokane-area vets

  • All ages, all conflicts

  • Men and women

  • PTSD/MST symptoms which impede a healthy lifestyle

  • With serious desire for healing

  • No hoops or required documentation

  • No need for prior creative experience or skill

 

Warriors Heart to Art is an all-volunteer Spokane-based non-profit organization helping Spokane-area veterans heal from PTSD using creative arts to tell their stories, and helping the public understand military trauma. We help vets reconnect with themselves and their community.

 

 

 

 

Testimonials From Veterans

WARRIORS HEART TO ART RETREAT NOVEMBER 2018

 

Harold Watters

 

I served in the Army from 1967-1970 and 1972-1991. During my service in Vietnam, I lost 7 members of my crew that I’d done all my training with. I was, after 6 months promoted to SGT and at the age of 18 in charge of these men that because they were drafted, weren’t promoted as fast. Within 4 days of our arrival I lost my first member. By the end of my tour in 1970 I had lost all of them. I know now that I suffer from survivors’ guilt and PTSD. I tried to return to my life before service and found I just didn’t fit. So, I joined the military and hid from my ghosts until 1991 when Desert Shield came about. This brought back all those memories I had stuffed.

After many years of inpatient stays at the VA, I found my way to the Veterans Outreach Center in Spokane, WA. It was highly suggested that I attend the Warriors Heart to Art Retreat.

 

I agreed to attend, yet the day I arrived I wanted to stay in my car and go home. I didn’t. I went in and got settled. I tried to hide in the circle that became my new family. They wouldn’t let any of us do that. We were encouraged to join in the discussions and given different art projects with no direction as to their outcome. Just express your feelings. Look into your heart and not your head. The longer I stayed, the longer I wanted it to last. But… the most gripping part was writing “OUR” song. Joe Jencks, a professional song writer, took down one-word thoughts of our life prior to military, during military, after military and our future. Within 24 hours he composed our first draft and by the end of the retreat we sang this song for the public.

 

With veterans of all ages, we all had something to add to the family that affected others.

 

My only thought about this retreat… why can’t more with PTSD attend? I encourage anyone that has the chance to attend to do that.

 

My life has changed. When I left Vietnam, I lost all faith in God or higher power. Since the retreat I know that there is something controlling my life and I just need to let it happen.